By The Nation
On the final day of last year’s event, Ariya carded six birdies in the final round to earn a playoff against In Gee Chun and Nasa Hataoka. It only took two extra holes and two birdies for the Thai to secure her first of three wins during the 2018 season and her second victory at the Kingsmill Resort River Course. Her first was in 2016.
The win was the catalyst of what became an impressive year for the former World No 1, who went on to win the US Women’s Open and the Scottish Open – she went on to sweep the season-ending players awards, including the Rolex Player of the Year.
At this year’s tournament, she is looking to start fresh, even if it means not dwelling on her 2018 accomplishments.
“It’s getting more tough and tough like when I try not compare myself to last year, but I still doing okay with that. Even like sometime I think about the outcome so much so it makes it harder to play well,” said Ariya. “I just really have to come back and focus on those things that are under my control. I’ve been working on that with my coach. So I think I’m getting better.”
Her highest finish this year was at the LOTTE Championship, where she tied for third. She said it was in Hawaii that she started to feel herself focus on her “process,” thanks in part to her team around her.
“I feel I’m so lucky, because every time I feel I am struggling they help me, they support me, they always give me the best support,” she said.
With a two-week break under her belt, the Thai feels rejuvenated and ready to keep her mindset in check. A win this week would make her the second three-time winner of this event, along with Cristie Kerr.
“During the last few months the only thing I have been thinking is that I want to play well. I want to finish top 10. I keep asking like why. I keep asking myself why,” said Ariya.
“But right now I’m just going to tell myself how I’m going to do this. So just come back to that. I think I’m on my way.”